White House press secretary Jay Carney on Piers Morgan’s CNN show last night dismissed critics of Obamacare’s early website failings as “a lot of fascination obviously with pointing the finger of blame for the fact that the website associated with the Affordable Care Act has not been performing as effectively as it should be.”
“But the fact is this is a significant enterprise and the problems that we’ve seen were not anticipated. We knew there would be some glitches, we knew there would be some trouble but neither the president nor the senior team knew that we would see the kind of trouble that we’ve seen as far which is why the president has insisted on making sure that some of the best minds in the country when it comes to these kind of subjects are being applied to addressing these problems and making the consumer experience so much better,” he said.
He also brushed off calls for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, despite calls for heads to roll coming from all quarters. “Until someone that high up is fired, I do not believe that no one is angrier about this failure than the president,” Andrew Sullivan wrote yesterday. “I believe that’s true – but also spin.”
“It shouldn’t be about, you know, making — having heads roll or firing people,” Carney said. “…The accountability [Obama’s] looking for is the accountability of making sure that everybody who has expertise in this matter is focused on fixing it. Not, you know, focused on, you know, making heads roll. That’s not the time right now to focus on that. The time is to get these problems fixed and make sure that the system is working most efficiently from the American people. That’s what his focus is on right now not on, you know, pointing fingers of blame but making sure that it works.”
The press secretary kept up the spin that “part of that has been driven by the enormous volume, the enormous levels of interest that exceeded our expectations and that volume itself has caused problems with the website and the volume has exposed other problems.”
Carney said there’s a “tech search” under way to find someone to fix the site.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans are submitting their applications successfully to get into the system and enroll in ObamaCare. And they’re doing it through a variety of means, through state exchanges, through the federal exchanges, and through the calling center, and that’s going to continue,” he said. “…We’re three weeks into a six month process so this is still very early days.”
“…It doesn’t mean sending a military jet to pick up the experts in Silicon Valley but there are a number of experts from the private sector who are working around the clock on this, as well as experts from within government who are working around the clock on this, and we take the point. We need the best brains in the business applied to helping makes this experience better and helping to make the changes to the website that are necessary to deal with the volume and to deal with the glitches that consumers have encountered.”